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Iranian President Wraps up Iraq Visit; Iraq and the Election: Troops Follow Race Closely; Tensions Mount Over Colombian Raid; Michelle Obama Speaks at University of Texas

Aired March 3, 2008 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen, in today for Kyra Phillips. She is on assignment in Iraq. But we are at CNN World Headquarters right here in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And I'm Don Lemon.

You're, in fact, in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is 2:00 p.m. Eastern. We begin the hour with our Political Ticker.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battle it out for the two biggest prizes in tomorrow's contest, Texas and Ohio. Clinton is campaigning in both states today. Obama is concentrating on Texas.

Clinton needs big wins everywhere to make a dent in Obama's delegate lead. Right now, according to the latest CNN estimate, Clinton trails Obama by 102 delegates.

Texas could give a big boost to John McCain's bid to reach the magic number of Republican delegates. After spending the weekend at his home in Arizona, McCain is back on the trail. He's scheduled to attend a town hall meeting this evening in Waco.

NGUYEN: Well, Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem is raising some eyebrows with her comments about McCain. At a campaign stop in Austin, Texas, Steinem downplayed the importance of McCain's time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The feminist leader said if McCain had been a woman, the media would ask, what did she do wrong to get captured? The Clinton campaign says Clinton has repeatedly praised McCain's courage and service to the country and Steinem's comments do not represent Clinton's thinking in any way.

Well, the federal corruption trial of real estate developer Tony Rezko is under way in Chicago. Jury selection is expected to take three days.

Rezko has contributed to the campaigns of Barack Obama and numerous other Democrats. Obama has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has sent some $85,000 in Rezko-related contributions to charity. Rezko has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, influence- peddling, and demanding kickbacks from companies wanting state business in Illinois. LEMON: We want to get you now live to Tyler, Texas, and you see these folks are at the podium. They're about to introduce Michelle Obama. Of course, wife of Barack Obama, presidential contender, Democratic presidential contender. Both from Chicago.

This is happening at the University of Texas, in Tyler. Barack Obama not planning to speak at this event. His wife is doing that. But he is focusing on Texas today, and as well as Ohio. But mostly on Texas.

Hillary Clinton, of course, campaigning in both places. Both places. She was on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend. I believe she --

NGUYEN: Yes. She did the opening line.

LEMON: Yes. And I think she's going to be on "The Daily Show" tonight. So Hillary Clinton showing a funnier, more human side. And then Barack Obama, of course, has his wife out on the campaign trail there today.

If you'd like to watch any of the candidates today, of course you can watch CNN, right here on our air. But you can also go to CNN.com/live to see their rallies and events live and unfiltered. Again, that's CNN.com/live.

NGUYEN: Well, The Associated Press is reporting today that the U.N. Security Council has approved sanctions against Iran. We've been expecting this to occur. And according to wire reports, it has indeed happened.

We're going to get a lot more details on exactly what those sanctions involve. But from the onset, we under that they include freezing of the assets of about a dozen companies and a dozen individuals with links to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missiles programs. And also for the first time, the resolution would ban trade with Iran and goods which have both civilian and military uses.

Again, we're going to get some more details on the exact wording of the sanctions. But we have learned that those sanctions have been imposed. The U.N. Security Council has approved sanctions today on Iran.

(NEWSBREAK)

LEMON: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has left Iraq, and he says the Americans should, too. The Iranian president has wrapped up a landmark trip in which he slammed the U.S. and virtually shunned his own security.

Let's go straight now to Baghdad and CNN's Michael Ware -- Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don, that's right. The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took less than 36 hours to essentially steal the show. From the moment he landed until the moment he left, he held Iraq's attention, and also that of Washington and much of the world. In many ways, this symbolism of this trip is vital.

Certainly no major agreements were reached, although some deals were done. The importance here is that this is the first time an Iranian president has set foot in Baghdad since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, or since the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces.

Now, this marks two successes. One, over the executed dictator Saddam Hussein, who waged a vicious eight-year war against Iran. But it also marks a perceived success by Iran against the United States.

Both countries are pursuing influence here in Iraq. And many people, including some in the U.S. mission, at very senior levels, believe that Iran right now has the edge. Indeed, some very senior officials have told me in the past that of the last six years, Iran is the big winner.

Now, that's very much the way President Ahmadinejad came here. He announced his visit two weeks ago. He came on the day and the time he said he would come. He drove from the airport, didn't fly, like everyone else. He didn't hide out in the Green Zone or seek harbor in a military compound.

Instead, he was in what the Americans call the Red Zone. Such is his and his country's confidence in their influence and authority here. Indeed, this Iraqi government is made up of political parties, most of whom have direct ties to Iran, if not actually created in Iran and sent back here to Baghdad. Certainly after the invasion, it was Iranian-backed groups who filled the void.

And according to the U.S. military, Iran is backing militias who, as of the end of last year, each month, were killing more American soldiers than al Qaeda or the Sunni insurgency. These are claims that the president simply brushes away. Indeed, he says America's presence in this country is an insult to the Arab nations of the region, and a humiliation, and America should just pack up now and leave. Of course, none of this is unrelated to Iran's pursuit of nuclear energy -- Don.

LEMON: Michael Ware in Baghdad. Thank you, Michael.

NGUYEN: Well, the war in Iraq is a major issue in the race for the White House and vice versa. U.S. troops have a keen interest in the political battles back home, and their futures, well, they could depend on it.

Here's CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Perhaps no Americans have more at stake in this election than the troops in Iraq. The next president of the United States almost certainly will determine when they come home. On a recent trip to Iraq, I spoke to several troops about the political season. Command Sergeant Major Marvin Hill is the senior enlisted soldier in Iraq.

COMMAND SGT. MAJ. MARVIN HILL, U.S. ARMY: I have never seen in 30 years of service the amount of energy that our troopers are putting into the election and how they are so in tune with what's going on back home.

STARR: Their worries are the same as many Americans.

HILL: I think they're mostly concerned with the economy, and they're concerned with how this war is going to play out.

STARR: Voting may not be easy. Troops can log on to Web sites to download absentee ballots, but they have to get them into the mail in time to be counted. That can be tough in remote areas like this, near the Syrian border.

LT. COL. PETER BAUMGARTEN, U.S. MARINE CORPS.: We started encouraging the Marines to vote as we were coming out here in October, to make sure they could participate in the primary season.

STARR: In Falluja, where hundreds of Marines died during the height of the insurgency, there is now great interest in the campaign.

HM2 OTHEA WILLIAMS, U.S. NAVY MEDICAL CORPSMAN: We watch the news, of course, or at the chow hall, and then certain rooms have cable in them, so we catch the news there. And, of course, we have the Internet.

STARR: But the reality is, here the job comes first.

WILLIAMS: I spend more time out here doing this than I actually do have time to sit down and watch TV.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Well, the mortgage mess is rattling nerves and wallets all across the nation. You think it's bad where you live? Well, we'll take you to the epicenter of what financial experts call the manmade disaster.

NGUYEN: And Colombian troops kill a rebel leader in a daring cross-border raid. But could the repercussions trigger a war in South America?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: A lot of news happening today, including this -- the U.N. has approved a third round of sanctions against Iran today. Those measures include freezing the assets of about a dozen companies and a dozen individuals with links to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programs. And for the first time, the resolution would ban trade with Iran in goods which have both civilian and military uses.

Again, the U.N. has approved a third round of sanctions against Iran today. We'll continue to follow this story and bring you more developments as they occur.

Well, it's 14 past the hour on this Monday, and here are three of the stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

There is no word on a motive in a shooting rampage in Palm Beach County, Florida, today. Police say a gunman opened fire in a Wendy's restaurant, killing one person and critically wounding three others before killing himself.

The FBI says it might be domestic terrorism. It is investigating fires that gutted several multimillion-dollar model homes north of Seattle. A fire chief says a sign with the letters "ELF" was found at the scene, but there's no confirmation on whether that's a calling card of the radical Earth Liberation Front which is considered an ecoterrorist group by the feds.

And the country's midsection is dealing with a wicked storm system, one that spawned this tornado in Oklahoma this weekend. Look at that. That same system could dump heavy snow in parts of Arkansas.

LEMON: Well, Colombia is on guard as Ecuador and Venezuela move troops to the borders. This, after Colombian troops killed a top Colombian rebel leader in Ecuador. Ecuador has cut off ties with Bogota. So has Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, calls the raid a cowardly murder.

Joining us with more background and perspective is Ione Molinares of CNN en Espanol. She is in Washington.

Hi, Ione.

IONE MOLINARES, CNN EN ESPANOL: Don, how are you?

Well, this is a very complicated situation for the region. It's a conflict that started with the killing of Raul Reyes. He's the number two of the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia known as FARC.

The Colombian government acknowledged that its armed forces went into Ecuador's territory to do the operation midnight Saturday. That resulted in the death of Reyes, known as the negotiator for the FARC. Very bold in the recent release of hostages, but also one of the hard- liner ideologies of the Colombian guerrilla.

The government of Colombia has apologized to Ecuador, but after an investigation, the government of Ecuador has rejected Colombia's apology, has called the incident a massacre, expelled the Colombian ambassador, and mobilized troops to the border of Colombia.

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, called this guerrilla member a good man, and also ordered troops to the border. And yesterday, Chavez sympathizers offered a minute of silence for this member of the head of the Colombian guerrilla. But probably one of the most significant developments today was the fact that Colombia says that it has documents from computers seized during the operation of ties between the FARC and the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, including contacts...

LEMON: Yes.

MOLINARES: ... of military commanders. Also, the Colombian government has released documents that show ties with the government of Venezuela, and allegedly giving -- the FARC giving the government of Venezuela $300 million.

LEMON: Yes. That's -- it's all -- it's all very interesting, Ione. I've got to ask you this, though -- Hugo Chavez has said, you know, we don't want war, but -- and why all this tough talk and why the troop buildup?

MOLINARES: Well, it's a tension that has been building up since -- probably since last year, at the end of last year, during the release of hostages, or the attempt of the release of hostages last year. And President Chavez and the president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, have been at odds during those times.

LEMON: Yes.

MOLINARES: And also, there is a continuous claim from Hugo Chavez that the U.S. is being emboldened somehow in a continuous attempt in trying to overturn him.

LEMON: So, yes, there are a number of things here. All right. So, how do the people in the region feel about this? Would they support a war, Ione?

MOLINARES: No, of course, not. I mean, inside the Colombian government, or the Colombian people, are very worried about the implications of this. And in the region there is also calls for dialogue, for diplomacy.

Argentina and Chile have questioned the fact that the Colombian government went into Ecuador's territory to get this guerrilla member. But most of the countries have also called for diplomacy. In fact, tomorrow will be a session, an important session, to discuss this at the Organization of American States here in Washington.

LEMON: From CNN en Espanol, Ione Molinares. Ione, thank you.

MOLINARES: You're welcome.

NGUYEN: OK -- shot, stabbed, their home burned to the ground. So, what prompted such a brutal attack on a family in rural Texas? Well, the sheriff believes it started with a forbidden romance.

Here's reporter Michael Rey of CNN Dallas affiliate KDAF.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MICHAEL REY, REPORTER, KDAF (voice over): Rains county Texas authorities are still sorting through what happened at this rural east Texas home early Saturday morning. They've charged four Texas teens with capital murder.

Four members of the Caffey family were stabbed or shot. The father, Terry Caffey, crawled 300 yards for help. His wife Penny, 13- year-old son Matthew, and eight-year-old son Tyler all died in their home which was set on fire.

SHERIFF DAVID TRAYLOR, RAINS COUNTY, TEXAS: We feel confident that the motive was the fact that the juvenile daughter and one of the individuals in custody were dating, and that the parents was attempting to break the relationship up, which led into the crime that was committed.

REY (on camera): According to a fellow student, the boyfriend was on a computer last week at school when his teacher told him to get off. He said he wouldn't because his girlfriend's father had hacked into his MySpace page.

(voice over): Nineteen-year-old Charlie James Wilkinson, police have identified him as the boyfriend. Twenty-year-old Charles Allen Wade and 18-year-old Bobbi Gale Johnson are being held at the Rains County Jail.

The Caffeys' daughter is at a juvenile facility in Hunt County. Authorities won't say who used the gun and knife recovered.

Terry Caffey will have surgery to remove four bullets lodged in his body. He's described the terrifying scene to authorities.

TRAYLOR: Basically, that they was in the house asleep. Subjects come into the house. And as it said in here, he was able to identify one of the subjects that -- individuals at that time, which an investigation led on into the other individuals that have been taken into custody.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: And that was Michael Rey of our Dallas affiliate KDAF.

Well, three of the four suspects were students at the local high school.

LEMON: Wow. Terrible.

OK, look at this. Would you want to be on this flight? Can you imagine?

NGUYEN: No.

LEMON: A gusty wind and a gutsy pilot. We'll take a closer look at the...

NGUYEN: Man! LEMON: ... wild ride for the people on this jet and what happens next.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Michelle Obama at the University of Texas in Tyler, Texas, right now on the stump for her husband. She's actually talking about how her husband was able to raise millions and millions of dollars against a formidable candidate like Hillary Clinton.

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SEN. BARACK OBAMA: ... so Barack had amassed a donor base so large, it was sometimes triple that of most of his opponents. So, he raised millions of dollars because of the theory that $23 is just as important as $2,300 if people vote. So, he raised the money, and in some instances, outraised some of his opponents. But then what do they say after you raise the money? They said money is not important.

That's not the test. Everybody is going to raise money. They said the test was whether or not the candidate could build an organization. And they said there was no way that Barack Obama could build the kind of political organization that could outmatch the political might of a candidate that had been building their base for a lot longer period of time. But what did Barack do? He started reaching out and building these grassroots organizations, very thoughtfully and strategically in a lot of the early states.

And we attracted thousands of volunteers, many young people like you all. Folks who have given up their jobs, left schools to come and work for a cause greater than themselves. And what we were hearing in states like Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina was that some of the political pros had not seen an organization as strong and as grassroots grounded as Barack's. So, he built it.

But then after he built the organization, they said, well, it's not organization. That's not important. They said what's important, what is really, was Iowa. Remember that? They said Iowa was everything, because Iowa was a caucus -- is what they said. They said, so who could develop that relationship with Iowa and come out of that caucus was going to be an indication of who would be a strong candidate. So, they said, well, of course, Barack Obama could not win in Iowa because there were people who had invested a lot more time building those relationships.

So, we go into Iowa anyway and said let's give it a shot. So, we spent a long time in Iowa. I think I've been in every county and every corner in Iowa. Beautiful state. We sat in people's living rooms in open-air barns and community centers and schools, and we got to know the folks in Iowa. And they got to dissect every single candidate, really get to know their positions, see us all up close and personal.

And then what happened in Iowa? What do you know, Barack Obama won Iowa. And he won by a pretty significant margin of victory. But what happened after he won Iowa? They said, Iowa's not important. I was there! They said, it's not an early-state game as we had thought. It's really a national race. They said, who was up in the national polls was really determined who would be a strong candidate.

And, of course, at the time Barack was back in the national polls by double digits. And they said there was no way that Barack Obama could cut into that lead. And then we head into New Hampshire. It was supposed to be one of his opponent's firewalls. Barack was supposed to be crushed in New Hampshire because they had built relationships that Barack could not catch up with.

So, we entered into New Hampshire. The polls nationally start to narrow. We get into New Hampshire, he loses the race, but only by a small margin; walks away with just as many delegates. We considered that a huge victory! And after New Hampshire, then we roll into South Carolina. And South Carolina, but, but, wait, wait, don't get too excited about South Carolina. Because they said South Carolina didn't count, because Barack was supposed to win South Carolina.

You remember that? Well, he did win, but he won by such a huge margin of victory. He won that state not just among African-American voters, but he won every county in that state except for two. So, it was hard to spin that victory. And then as you know, how things have gone on, Barack is one of the few candidates -- I asked people, when was the last time you've seen a candidate of any race, any party, any gender, who has been able to pull together victories that include Missouri and Utah and Idaho and Virginia and Maine and Louisiana and South Carolina and Washington State and Hawaii and Alaska?

I mean, this has been an interesting run. It has been an interesting run for us. And we've learned a couple of things in this year. We've learned, first, that the American people are hungry for change. They're hungry for something different and they're ready to be engaged in politics in a way that they haven't been in a very long time. And a lot of that has to do with Barack, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that people are desperate for something different.

Folks are standing in line to attend political rallies, bringing their kids. Folks are sitting around the TV watching political debates. Folks are sitting around their kitchen tables talking about superdelegates and pledged delegates. When was the last time anybody ever mentioned anything about a delegate? There is -- there's something different going on here in this country.

And it's a good thing. It's a very good thing. So, we've learned that people are ready for something different. But we've also learned that we're still living in a society -- we're living at a time where the bar is set, and then folks struggle and work to reach the bar.

LEMON: Michelle Obama in Tyler, Texas, stumping for her husband and talking about really what a roller coaster campaign this has been not only for her and her husband, but also for the American people. So we're going to look at -- since we're coming out of this, look at the latest polls in Texas. Our poll of polls averaging five statewide surveys, Democrat Barack Obama -- Democrats I should say, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in a virtual dead heat among likely Democratic primary voters. Obama has 47 percent. Clinton, 45 percent. The Democratic race is also tight in Ohio; whose latest poll of polls show Clinton at 48 percent and Obama at 43 percent.

Let's get some insight into these numbers from our senior political analyst, Mr. Bill Schneider.

So, Bill, these new polls showing the race is getting tighter, even tighter in Texas and Ohio. Is there anything either Clinton or Obama can do today to sway those undecided voters? That's what it hinges on, people who have not decided already.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are very -- there aren't very many undecided voters, but they have the margin of difference. Because you saw one poll, Obama in Texas by two, another poll, Clinton in Ohio by five. And in each state, the number of undecided voters is greater than the margin of difference between the two candidates.

So, yes, there's a lot at stake for those undecided voters. What can the campaigns do, you ask? Get them out to vote. If you can identify the undecided voters, that takes a lot of money and a lot of trouble. If you can find those undecided voters, persuade them at the last minute that your woman or man is the better candidate, and then get them to the polls, that's what you have to do. Pull them out of bed. Get them out of the house, provide a babysitter, do something but get them to the polls.

LEMON: Whatever you have to do, get them there, right, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: Right,

LEMON: OK, Bill, let's look at the GOP numbers. Let's see -- in Texas, Mccain 57 percent, 30 percent for Mike Huckabee and then Ron Paul has seven percent. And then in Ohio, McCain is 58 percent, Huckabee has 26 percent, Ron Paul eight percent. And then unsure, I guess, those are the undecideds that we're talking about there -- eight percent. But it really doesn't matter on that side, because he really has a comfortable, comfortable lead.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

LEMON: Could Huckabee still be a spoiler, though, and get enough delegates to keep McCain from clinching the nomination tomorrow? He can spoil it for tomorrow, put it off a little bit longer. But the chances of him getting it are pretty slim.

SCHNEIDER: Well, theoretically, yes, it would be possible. McCain needs 158 Republican delegates to clinch the nomination and there are a little over 250 -- 250 Republican delegates at stake tomorrow, in the four states. So, if Huckabee were to win the four states by huge margins, he might be able to prevent McCain from going over the top. But he'd have to win by pretty solid margins. I should point out that the only state that's winner-take-all is Vermont, and that's the smallest state. Ohio is about one-third winner-take-all. All the rest of the delegates will be apportioned according to how many votes McCain and Huckabee and Paul get. So, it is -- it would be possible, but unlikely, for Huckabee to be able to do that.

LEMON: Bill Schneider, always appreciate it. Thank you.

SCHNEIDER: Sure.

NGUYEN: Well, some 15,000 home foreclosures in 2007 alone. Cleveland, Ohio, is an epicenter of this mortgage crisis. One local official calls it a manmade disaster.

Here's CNN's Gerri Willis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR (on-camera): With Tuesday's Ohio primary looming, local officials are focusing on the fact that Democratic candidates didn't speak extensively about the foreclosure crisis in last week's debate.

Here's the story of one Ohio community.

(voice-over): Marie Kittredge's middle-class community in Cleveland has been decimated by the foreclosure crisis.

MARIE KITTREDGE, EXEC. DIR. SLAVIC VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT: Really, we've been robbed. Because we had -- these houses were all occupied five years ago. They were cheap, affordable housing.

WILLIS: About 1,000 homes in her Slavic village neighborhood are empty, made worse by looters ripping apart their interiors, stealing valuable metal pipes and wires. Cleveland was already suffering economically. Community leaders blame the housing crisis on Wall Street and mortgage fraudsters.

TONY BRANCATELLI, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL: We weren't the victim of a natural disaster. We're a victim of a manmade disaster.

WILLIS: Now, local leaders want to turn disaster into opportunity. Demolishing homes that are too far gone and rehabbing the ones that can be saved. The money is coming out of an already overburdened city budget.

FRANK JACKSON, MAYOR OF CLEVELAND: Last year we had $6 million. And we tore down close to 1,000 structures as a result of that.

WILLIS: But Cleveland is losing valuable tax dollars because of lower home values and vacant properties. And is looking to the federal government for help.

BRANCATELLI: We need the same kind of disaster relief that other cities have had to come in and help clear out the abandoned properties and help come -- reinvest and save our neighborhoods.

WILLIS: The federal government has promised $130 million for counseling those facing foreclosure, part of which will go to Cleveland. The Bush administration and six major lenders have also agreed to give homeowners facing foreclosure an extra 30 days to try and rework their mortgage.

Marie Kittredge hopes for more government help, but knows the real work will come at the community level.

KITTREDGE: I'm kind over the anger and the grief. And we are completely about figuring out a way to solve the problem. This is home to me, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

WILLIS (on-camera): Cleveland is suing 21 banks and lenders saying their loose purse strings is what led to this crisis in foreclosures. Now local community activists say they can turn this community around, but it could take as long as five to ten years. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Well, we do have much more political coverage ahead. We're going to take you live to a Hillary Clinton rally in Beaumont, Texas. Also, Ali Velshi on the Election Express bus finds out what issues are taking you to the polls. And we'll take a closer look at tomorrow's crucial contest with our political roundtable.

You definitely want to be the first to know the results in tomorrow's primaries and caucuses. So, here's what you can do. Sign up for CNN breaking news e-mail alerts and you'll know when we know. So sign up at CNN.com.

LEMON: All politics all the time. Except when we get video like this and we bring that in. Look at this. A gusty wind and a gutsy pilot. We'll take a closer look at the wild ride for this jet.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: OK, on a flight -- this was in Hamburg, Germany. Germans are recovering from a windstorm that hurled trees through homes, even a train. Then there was a jet caught in the crosswinds.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has that frightening landing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On this amateur video, the Lufthansa Airbus A-320 can be seen approaching the airfield, already fighting heavy winds. Then just before touchdown, a gust hits the plane. The left wing tip scrapes the ground, and the plane veers off to the side.

Finally, the jet pulls up. Pilot Oliver A., whose last name has not been disclosed, said in a statement, "The landing was challenging because of the wind, as we were about to touch down, a gust of wind pressed the left wing towards the ground. We pulled up immediately. A maneuver we practice in training very often."

One hundred and thirty-one passengers were on board the jet, fearing for their lives.

HANSI KUEPPER, PASSENGER (through Pleitgen's translation): "Those were seconds that you simply cannot put into words," this man who was on the plane, says.

The airbus was coming into Hamburg as a massive storm engulfed almost all of Germany. It landed safely on its second attempt. Lufthansa and praised the pilot for what it says was a very professional reaction.

In January, a British Airway's pilot avoided a disaster, crash landing this Boeing jet short of the runway at Heathrow after the engines didn't respond. Experts say emergencies close to the ground are among the most dangerous.

JOE REYNOLDS, AVIATION INVESTIGATIONS EXPERT: Under those conditions, it can be quite difficult to land, successfully, with such high crosswinds. They're always a challenge in any landing, but when the magnitude is sufficiently high, the aircraft is more difficult to control.

PLEITGEN: Lufthansa says the damage to the plane was minimal and that the aircraft is already back in service.

Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: That was some remarkable video there.

Well, they are mobilized. They're politically passionate but will Latino voters end up being a swing vote in tomorrow's presidential primaries? We're going to take a closer look.

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kareen Wynter in Hollywood. We've got some rock stars in the news. I'll tell you which legendary rock star may have been targeted for death by the Hells Angels. That's all coming up in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: Well, a British television report says this, get this, the Hell's Angels had a plan to kill Mick Jagger? CNN entertainment correspondent, Kareen Wynter, is here to tell us all about that.

Kareen, come on, are you kidding me? Is this legit?

WYNTER: Betty, I have to say this is a bit bizarre here. Let me break it down for you, OK. This is all according to a BBC documentary that is, in fact, supposed to air later today, that the Hells Angels tried to kill Mick Jagger. The story began when the Stones were performing back in 1969 at the Altamont Speedway in California. Now the concert, as you know, became one of the most infamous moments in rock 'n' roll, when a fan was killed by the Angels during the show. Now, the Hells Angels had actually been hired to provide security for the bands who were performing that night.

Now, this part of the story was told in the documentary "Give Me Shelter." But, according to the BBC's new show, "The FBI 100," in the aftermath of the concert, after they were fired as security, well the Angels resolved to kill Jagger. That's right.

A former FBI agent who was interviewed for the show says a biker is headed out, on a boat, to Jagger's vacation home in Long Island, New York. But, as they were heading to Long Island, guess what, the boat hit some bad weather, Betty, and they were thrown in the water. Now apparently, once was enough for the biker group and they never, never went after Jagger again.

NGUYEN: See what happens when you go after Jagger? Even Mother Nature will step in.

WYNTER: You fall out of your boat. We, by the way, tried to confirm this story with the FBI and they said that since no crime was ever committed here, there was never an official investigation and therefore there's no public record of this happening. Although I have to say as far as plots go, Betty, this one is more sitcom than anything else, don't you think?

NGUYEN: Yes, definitely. But I hear there's some other news on another rock star dealing with some kind of altercation. What's that about?

WYNTER: You know the name -- Kid Rock, Betty. He's back in the news. He says he's not guilty of battery. Rock and several other members of his entourage -- they were arrested after a late-night brawl at an Atlanta Waffle House, of all places.

This happened last October, allegedly. Rock had just finished a concert and wanted out, unwind a bit. At the Waffle House, another customer exchanged words with him over a woman who was with the entourage and you guessed it, a fight broke out. Rock, or Robert James Richie, was not in court to enter his plea and we'll just have to see how this case continues -- how this one turns out.

NGUYEN: Well, who knew rock stars like to unwind at a Waffle House, of all places?

WYNTER: Well, you know, beats me, right?

NGUYEN: It seems like today's news is all about the bad boys of rock.

WYNTER: You got that. And keeping in the vain, there's some news about Van Halen. This word actually coming in that their show tonight has been canceled. Now, the reunited group, they've been touring the country and there are reports that the rest of their tour is in trouble.

The band had canceled their last two concerts, giving them ten days off before they were scheduled to perform in Dallas tonight. They wanted to relax a bit. But now tonight's show, and the rest of the performances, are in doubt.

The speculation, Betty, by the way, has been that guitarist Eddie Van Halen is been having issues, although no one knows has been clear as to what those may be. But, we've been making calls on this story all morning and no one has gotten back to us.

And according to the Van Halen Web site, well, the shows are still on. Not the one tonight, but the others. Ticketmaster was selling tickets for tonight's show before its cancellation. So hopefully we'll know how this one all ends soon.

NGUYEN: Yes. All right.

WYNTER: All right.

Let's talk a little bit about "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." Coming up on straight at you tonight, Hollywood at war over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, two big names in the news. The extraordinary battle online and on TV involving Hollywood's biggest stars, including an extraordinary attack by Jack "The Joker" Nicholson. The raging fight on TV's most provocative entertainment news show, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

NGUYEN: Well, we will be watching. Thank you, Kareen.

WYNTER: Thanks, Betty.

LEMON: Our senior business correspondent, Ali Velshi, is on the road again in Texas. I wonder what voters there are saying as they get ready to head to the polls tomorrow?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: All right, here's a story that you need to follow closely, all right? Hear me out here. A New York cabbie is in hot water for allegedly plotting to abandon a baby girl. Klever Salimaa (ph) initially claimed the six-month-old was left by her father in his cab. All right, you got that so far?

Well, police say he later admitted that the baby's father is his girlfriend's brother. Salimaa reportedly says the family was desperate so he lied to save the baby and colleagues, who once praised him, are now condemning his actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FERNANDO MATEO, N.Y. FEDERATION OF TAXI DRIVERS: He thought that he could take the baby that this family didn't want, drop him off in a safe-haven place and walk away.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NGUYEN: Well, Salimaa and his girlfriend were arraigned on criminal charges this weekend. The baby's 14-year-old mother is not expected to face charges, but police are looking for the baby's 27- year-old father.

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